Guard The Teaching
A daily devotion for November 1st
1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2To Timothy my true son in the faith:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer 4nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work—which is by faith. 5The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. 7They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)
Just as error can be detected by what it produces, so too can truth be detected by what it produces. You can tell the gospel is having its effect upon you when you are becoming a more compassionate, loving, patient, tenderhearted person and you are reflecting these qualities to people around you. That is what Jesus said would happen, and that is why His great commandment to us is that we should love one another.
The apostle now traces the course of love back to its source. We will begin to understand more clearly what he is saying if we begin at the end and work back. Paul says,
love which comes from a pure heart, and behind that
a good conscience, and behind that
sincere faith. To begin at the end, faith is believing what God has said about the total end of your old life and the impartation of your new life, which is identified with the righteousness of Christ--this is what you believe. You are a new person; you are not the same. Everything of corrective nature in Christianity is to come back to that source. Therefore, love begins with sincere faith that the great facts of the gospel are personally true of you.
When you believe that, your actions will begin to change. You will begin to see that some of the things you have been doing are not consistent with a changed life. They are not the normal outworking of a heart that has been made anew in Jesus Christ, and, therefore, these things begin to fade. People do not have to be forced to stop things; they begin to see that these things are inconsistent with a changed life. That is what Paul means when he speaks of a
good conscience. Conscience is the judge of your behavior. It deals with the way you act, either accusing you or excusing you. And as you begin to be consistent in your actions with what you really are and see yourself to be, you have a good conscience; it no longer troubles you. You see yourself forgiven, restored, and accepted, the past washed away. Every day you begin anew on this basis, living according to a good conscience.
That, in turn, results in a pure heart. Your inner attitudes and thought life begin to change because you are no longer the same person you once were, and you do not think of yourself that way. You find yourself giving up freely and gladly those times when you used to wallow in lustful thoughts. It is no longer you. You do not want that anymore. Your heart is being purified so that your inner attitudes have changed.
Then, as that occurs, you begin to be a vessel from which flows the love of God. As Paul said in Romans 5:5,
God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Love begins to touch you and those all around you. That is the gospel. Paul sent Timothy to Ephesus to ensure that this message be clear and uncomplicated in Ephesus.
Grant to me, Lord, that I may learn more fully to appropriate that new life that is available to me, by which I may become a loving person as Jesus was.
Life Application: The definition of genuine love in no way resembles the meaningless street versions. Genuine love has three basic components, well worth noting and memorizing.
From your friends at www.RayStedman.org
Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.